Last Wednesday morning didn’t go according to plan.
I’m lackluster every Wednesday morn because Tuesday nights are my regular work gig at London’s Comedy Store. I laugh too much, drink too much, and don’t get home till about 11:30 p.m. Still, I had a good sleep. My new topper mattress means that my aching back no longer forces me out of bed!
I grabbed my bed lever to haul myself off the mattress and immediately knew something was off — even more off than usual. My power was severely diminished. Getting up was turning into a struggle.
It really wasn’t the moment for my body to misbehave. I was alone in the house. Both sons were at work and my wife was at the hairdresser to prepare for her mum’s funeral that Friday.
My wonderful mother-in-law’s kidneys started failing a couple of years ago. At first, drugs helped to ameliorate the situation. The kidney failure seemed like a process of aging; it certainly wasn’t due to any reckless, hedonistic lifestyle. At family gatherings, I had the bonus of a regular seated companion while everybody else twirled around in the social dance. Eluned had a wicked sense of humor and she appreciated risqué repartee. She often was my ace-in-the-hole. My wife would tell me off for being outrageous, but I’d point to her chortling mother and indicate a trumping!
My inability to get up wasn’t my first rodeo. I got this column by sending a comedic piece about falling to Multiple Sclerosis News Today. The rodeo metaphor aptly describes staying off the floor when you’ve got MS — it’s as exhausting and terrifying as riding a bucking bronco.
Connect with other patients and caregivers, find support and share tips for living well with MS in our MS News Today online forums.
When you walk around with MS, there is always the possibility of collapse. No matter how careful you are, the body fails and you just go down. Transferring between bed and chair turns into a slow, interminable struggle. Experience helps to quell panic: I keep my phone with me and try to end up in the most comfortable position possible. I managed that, sitting on the floor with my back against the side of the bed while clinging to my high-tech commode to keep me upright.
My new topper mattress may have granted sleep, but it proved my downfall because it doesn’t allow any sliding back, just an inexorable fall!
I calmly texted my wife, but she was in the midst of getting highlights and couldn’t move for at least an hour. She called the cavalry. Her brother and sister rocked up. They, too, were helping to arrange the funeral and look after their bereaved father. The sight of a 220-something-pound behemoth wearing only a T-shirt and an adult nappy wasn’t in their day’s plan. Still, perhaps the sight lightened their mood.
My brother-in-law tried for a direct lift, though I pointed out that likely wouldn’t work. Only my incredibly strong 22-year-old son has managed the task in recent times. Even the two in-laws’ combined efforts couldn’t do it.
I now have a lifting cushion, which is supposed to work with just one person helping. But when I’m dead weight, this is nigh impossible. Between the three of us, we somehow managed to get me high enough to sit on my chair.
With rest, I’d recover. They left.
Finally, I could have a catheterized wee. I hadn’t had a urinary tract infection (UTI) for months and months, but I thought it best to check anyway. I bought testing strips ages ago and have become something of a dab hand at it. I’ve worked out the chemistry and biology; I used to maintain my pool, and this is only a more complex examination of water quality.
Yes, I had a UTI, hence the collapse of strength. I immediately hit my supply of emergency antibiotics.
The UTI snuck up when I was thinking about anything but me.
Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.